SMARTMED project kick-off conference in Zagreb brings together the thirteen Mediterranean partners of one of the two PANORAMED Strategic Projects on Maritime and Coastal Tourism. Following the first steering committee held in Athens last October, this was the second important meeting for the project partners to start working together as well as better define and present a common work methodology for the upcoming activities.
The PANORAMED Strategic Project “SMARTMED – Empower Mediterranean for SMART Tourism”, funded by the Interreg MED Programme and led by the Ministry of Tourism of Croatia, celebrated its kick-off conference followed by a first technical meeting, in Zagreb on 27 and 28 January 2020. The project – focusing on the empowerment of key sector stakeholders – was approved in October 2019 together with another strategic project on Coastal & Maritime Tourism, BESTMED.
The kick-off conference was opened by the welcome speech of Frano Matušić, Secretary of State for Tourism of Croatia, who highlighted the great contribution of tourism to social and economic development in the Mediterranean area.
A short introduction to the project’s rationale and its key activities was given by Natalija Havidić from the Ministry of Tourism of Croatia. This was then followed by a presentation, by her colleague Ksenija Slivar, of one of the main project’s outcomes, the SMARTMED Business Model, aiming at enhancing the capacities of all stakeholders in tourism business and policy-making.
The second part of the conference was dedicated to success stories of projects and initiatives for a smart, sustainable and inclusive tourism, where external speakers presented respectively a positive example of destination management (Costa Nostrum Sustainable Beaches), another one related to digital innovation in tourism (ALTER ECO project) and a last one focusing on strengthening human capacities in the hospitality industry, with a special attention to people with disability (UNUO Association).
The day closed with a presentation made by a PANORAMED’s representative, Mislav Kovač, of the work carried out in relation to Coastal and Maritime Tourism, in particular the collected data, the policy paper to be finalised in the next months and the coordination activity to be fostered with the rest of Interreg Community.
On 28 January, a technical meeting concerning two specific work packages of the project was organised, to allow partners to exchange some preliminary views on the communication approach to be used in SMARTMED, discuss upcoming related activities and understand the state of the art in relation to the ongoing project’s studying phase, with a focus on the availability of data for the analysis of skills and tourism competitiveness.